Women Chefs

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When this year’s James Beard award winners were announced, it was hard to ignore the fact that they were all men. Joining us to talk about why women only hold one-tenth of executive-level chef positions in the United States are: Joyce Goldstein, James Beard award winner and current James Beard award committee member, food journalist Laura Shapiro, author of the book Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century, and Anita Lo, executive chef of the Michelin-starred restaurant Annisa and a former Iron Chef winner.


Joyce Goldstein, Anita Lo and Laura Shapiro

Comments [7]

rick from UES

Patrick your generalizations sound highly personal and counterintuitive.

Jul. 28 2010 03:28 PM
Patrick from New York City

Lennie, you missed the elephant in the room again. Large percentage of male chefs are gay. They don't like women and don't want them in their high-ego kitchens. They take care of their own too, you'll find many of the cooks are gay. I worked in hotel kitchens during college and found that was one reason I would never go into food service, the high percentage of gays and gay culture that kept the atmosphere volatile. I find many of your interviews have a P.C. Elephant left in the green room.

Jul. 28 2010 01:10 PM
Ellen from Brooklyn

I was just on vacation in Wellfleet, MA last week and ate at a restaurant there called the Wicked Oyster. I've liked that place for awhile and I was surprised when the waitress commented on the chef and said "her" in reference to the chef. I had just assumed the chef was a man. Perfect timing for this story!

Jul. 28 2010 12:41 PM
Laura from Brooklyn

This is a fascinating and important discussion. What the guests are speaking of is not particular to the food industry - I am struck by how similar the situation is in architecture. The problems range from obvious (how to balance the long work hours with raising a child?) to subtle (the feeling that a woman could do the same thing as a man and the man would get more recognition).

Jul. 28 2010 12:40 PM
Meg from Richmond Hill, GA

How much of this is due to the profound influence of France on haute cuisine? As an American who lived for a year I'm France, I found French culture in general to be remarkably sexist.

Jul. 28 2010 12:37 PM
Kenny from Brooklyn

I used to work in one of the most popular restaurants in the city ... in the union square area ... As sous chef it was my responsibility to run the kitchen every evening. During a period of several months during my tenure there 5 years ago where we had a 100% female line and they performed at the highest level. All of these women have basically left the industrial kitchens (as have I). The situation reminds me a lot of what applicants to medical schools faced years ago. There is no reason why we shouldn't expect to start seeing more women chefs in the future. I look forward to it.

Jul. 28 2010 12:29 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

And yet, most contemporary "food writers" seem to be women.

Jul. 28 2010 12:11 PM

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